Chenie - Housekeeper

The Importance of Being Part of the Wider Community

Glen Tor Abbeyfield Devon

Abbeyfield believe older people deserve time and respect. It is our mission to provide the best service of care and housing for all our residents, whilst being a champion for older people. Age should be no barrier to doing what you enjoy.

Glen Tor is an Abbeyfield home in Torrington, Devon and has recently celebrated its 30th birthday. It prides itself on the peaceful, supportive and friendly atmosphere that enables its residents to live as independently as possible.

Chenie, the Housekeeper, talks animatedly about how staff and volunteers help to make the house a home from home for all its residents. She understands the importance of having a sense of companionship and an environment where new relationships can be made whilst old friendships and interests are maintained.

“This is our residents' home. We take away the stresses and struggles involved as an older person living on your own and offer a safe, warm environment where you can engage with and become a valued member of the local community."

"It is a harsh assumption that retirement homes are cold and you lose your autonomy. This is certainly not the case here and it is important to us that the community see us in that way. We are here to help our residents enjoy life!”

Residents are actively supported so that they can volunteer and engage in local activities. This ranges from helping at the Community and Memorial Garden, being a member of a friendship group or assisting at the town’s drop-in centre for the over 60’s.

Trips out are organised regularly by a team of dedicated volunteers. Some volunteers drive and others offer support enabling residents to enjoy a variety of experiences who otherwise might not be able to get out and about.

The community is also welcomed into the home, enhancing the friendly family atmosphere.

Chenie recognises that it is an easy and enjoyable way to spread the word about Abbeyfield’s good work. It is a way to let people know we are here to help them. We are determined to tackle loneliness amongst older people and our doors are always open to those on their own.

“We like to involve the community as much as possible with informal get-togethers as well as the usual formal ones. We often have people dropping in for a cup of tea and a slice of cake – we are well known for our cake!”

As well as coffee mornings and book clubs, a weekly Tai Chi class has been set up involving both residents and members of the local community. These lessons have been organised by a resident who was referred to the local hospital for balance classes. The benefits to her were so marked she thought more people could benefit from this. One of our residents, Olive, attends the class:

Tai Chi at Glen Tor Abbeyfield Devon

“The Tai Chi sessions have really helped with my mobility and balance as well as keeping me active both physically and mentally. Originally I joined to be sociable but now I can feel the benefits that it has given me. It’s also nice to get together as a group as well as making some new friends from the others that attend.”

It is by involving volunteers that Glen Tor is able to offer an enhanced level of assistance and support to its residents including a diverse range of activities.

There is a committed and loyal team of about eighteen volunteers who all contribute to the home. Their roles are varied but include general maintenance, garden care, shopping for the residents and fundraising. You can often see the volunteers popping into the house and joining in residents’ birthday celebrations.

Two ladies, Elaine and Mary, have been volunteering at the home for almost 15 years which is a clear sign of the respect and value Glen Tor holds in the local community.

Glen Tor, Abbeyfield in Devon

“Since we have actively engaged the community, we have seen a huge improvement to the health and wellbeing of our residents. Our residents have become predominantly younger not in age (one of our residents is 96!) but physically, mentally and their zest for life has increased hugely!”

Glen Tor demonstrates Abbeyfield’s belief that older people deserve time and respect. For the sake of physical and mental wellbeing, it is essential that people are not lonely and isolated. They need to be part of a wider community where we care and look out for each other.

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